Vodafone, 2degrees, Telecom, Gen-i issue ChCh updates
Vodafone last night issued the following update regarding its communications services in Christchurch.
Vodafone’s mobile network in the region continues to be fully operational, but due to the current demand on telecommunications we are experiencing some congestion. Many of our sites are currently working on back-up power and others are currently off the air due to exhausted back-up power sources. We have a large number of portable generator sets currently en-route to Christchurch from other centres which we hope will be deployed in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Additional mobile cell sites are on their way to the region to be used as necessary and we will endeavour to maintain service to our best ability.
Vodafone’s main core network facility in Christchurch remains fully operational. Power supply to the west of Christchurch CBD is expected to be restored later tonight but there is no current restore time for power in eastern parts of the city due to the extensive damage to supply infrastructure.
We continue to recommend customers use text before voice and only use their phone for emergency calls to preserve both battery power of their handset as well as reduce capacity on the network.
Vodafone home and broadband customers may divert their calls to any nominated mobile phone number without incurring any of the usual diversion charges. See our website or call 777 for full details.
Vodafone continues to work closely with Civil Defence, government agencies, other telecommunications providers and utilities to restore communications and provide assistance. Ongoing updates of the situation are also available on Vodafone’s website and Forum.
The situation is fluid and we will keep the media regularly updated as more information becomes available.
Our thoughts are with the entire Christchurch community.
2degrees has issued this update:
2degrees’ Christchurch network, largely undamaged by today’s earthquake, has been running in many areas on batteries that will run short of power overnight.
Tonight, 2degrees engineers are arranging generators, but customers should expect to be without some mobile service this evening and tomorrow.
“We’re asking our customers in Christchurch to have patience if they lose service. Although we can’t identify which sites will lose battery power or when, we know that they are generally in good shape so can be placed back in service once power becomes available,” says 2degrees CEO Eric Hertz.
Mr Hertz says customers can also help reduce the drain on batteries by avoiding non-essential calls.
9:00am: Telecom has this morning sent out the following statement.
Telecom Media statement: Canterbury earthquake - update 9.00am, 23 February
Our infrastructure has proven resilient overnight, however disruption to landline and mobile services in Christchurch continues, and widespread power outages mean large parts of the network are still working off backup power.
Overnight we have focused our efforts on restoring and maintaining cell sites in the CBD, so survivors trapped in the rubble who do have mobile phones can continue to keep in contact with rescue teams. All central city cell sites that are operational have been connected to generators to keep them running.
We continue to intensively monitor network capacity and performance, with a particular focus on 111 services and key emergency response sites.
111 services remain stable and available and any issues connecting to 111 are likely to be due to network disruption due to damage, power outages or congestion. People trying to contact 111 should try again if they experience issues connecting. 111 calls are being prioritised.
Mobile performance has improved as people heed calls to limit non-essential mobile use. Many network sites are working on back-up power and this back-up power is limited as it is reliant on generators and batteries, so prolonged mains power issues will mean more sites are likely to go down as back-up batteries and generators run down.
We have deployed two COW (Cell Sites on Wheels) to critical areas to boost mobile coverage and we are looking to deploy additional COWs from around the country. We are also deploying technicians from around New Zealand to assist in the restoration of telecommunication services in the Canterbury region.
Ongoing network restoration work will be subject to civil defence and safety requirements.
To minimise the stress on the network and to conserve back-up power we ask people to continue only using their phones for emergency calls. We are providing further mobile phone devices to rescue workers as they arrive in the region. It’s important that we maintain integrity of the network to enable them to do ther job. For residents of Christchurch, 260 payphones in and around Christchurch are enabled with free calling for local, national and mobile calls.
People without power in their homes will not be able to use cordless landline phones, as base stations require power. If customers have non-cordless landline phones that plug directly into the wall and do not require power, they should use them instead.
We will provide regular updates as more information becomes available.
Our thoughts are with the people of Canterbury.
11:13pm: Gen-i has passed on the following update.
This morning we stand with all New Zealanders in support of the people of Canterbury and those impacted by the devastating events of yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this tragic time and we are absolutely committed to doing anything we can to support you now, and in the challenging times ahead.
To support the rescue and recovery operation, our focus and resolve across the Telecom Group, with the wider ICT industry, is to work together to do whatever it takes to maintain and deliver the essential communications services the Canterbury community needs during this time.
Since my last update at 7pm last night, the Gen-i and Telecom teams have worked through the night and the current situation for Telecom Group telecommunications and IT services in the Canterbury region is as follows (click the link for the full update).
12:15pm: Vodafone has issued another update.
Vodafone’s mobile network in the Canterbury region continues to be operational but due to the current demand on telecommunications we are experiencing some congestion.
Power supply to the west of the Christchurch CBD has been restored but there is no current restore time for power in eastern parts of the city due to the extensive damage to supply infrastructure. Many of our sites in that area are currently working on back-up power and others are currently off the air due to exhausted back-up power sources. Generators have begun to arrive, sites are already being brought back online with further sites being connected as the morning progresses. Additional mobile cell sites are on their way to the region to be used where necessary.
We ask customers to save their phones for emergency calls, and use txt for non-critical communications. We also ask that customers limit mobile data usage (Facebook, Twitter, video/picture messaging, email) as this puts strain on the network and may hamper rescue efforts.
Vodafone continues to work closely with Civil Defence, government agencies, other telecommunications providers and utilities to restore communications and provide assistance.
The situation is rapidly changing and we will keep the media updated.
2degrees cell sites in Christchurch are largely unaffected by the earthquake, however themain issue has been power supply, as batteries powering some sites have rundown overnight and during the day.
2degreesspokesman Mat Bolland says mobile coverage in Christchurch is being restored as generators are being installed throughout the day, although aftershocks andbattery power levels continue to prove challenging.
“We’ve been able to restore coverage today in some areas as generators have been connected, and we have more on the way. However, service is likely to fluctuate in some areas if batteries run short,” he says. “Our focus is on installing generators in areas where the power supply is likely to take longer to restore.”
Mr Bolland says yesterday’s calling volumes had caused congestion issues, but the network was managing volumes today.
“We’re still asking people in Christchurch or those contacting people there to text rather than call.”
2degrees also wants to clarify the area affected by the earthquake. While calls within, or to and from Christchurch have been impacted there are no issues in calling elsewhere in New Zealand.
“We’ve had some customers outside Christchurch ask if they should restrict phone use to help Christchurch. There’s no reason not to call and text freely if you live or call outside that area.”
Vodafone is continuing to bring its cell sites in the east of the city back online after the Christchurch earthquake. The company is deploying generators to the sites which are currently without power, but this work is being hampered by difficulties moving around the city.
Customers sending TXTs between the three networks (Vodafone, Telecom and 2Degrees) may experience some delays in those TXTs getting through, but Vodafone expects any backlog to be cleared over the next few hours.
The company’s earlier advice requesting customers to save their phones for emergency calls, and use txt for non-critical communications, still stands. Vodafone also asks that customers limit mobile data usage (Facebook, Twitter, video/picture messaging, email) as this puts strain on the network and may hamper rescue efforts.
Vodafone also suggests that customers leave a temporary message on their voicemail to let callers know the time and date, location and that they are OK. This provides some reassurance should mobile phone batteries go flat given the difficulties with power supply.
The next media update will be on Thursday morning.
Stay tuned for further updates. We'll add them to this page as they come in.